Friday, July 2, 2010

On Hold

We moved into our house a little over two years ago. We bought the place for a good price right before the house bust, but yet it still was a stretch for our budget. The advantage of the move was that my husband and I would be close to work (he rides his cruiser to work) and the boys would be close to their school and friends (they are “ choiced in” so we were driving a half hour to get them to school and we couldn’t participate in “playdates” with their classmates).

The house was a dump when we bought it. It had been neglected for years. A gentleman lived there who had diabetes and had turned blind. Inside the house lights and plumbing did not work. The rug had been pulled to reveal the wood floor, nails sticking out and all. The outside had dead grass, overgrown bushes, chipped paint that had been faded to another weird color, dirt grime lacing all the windows, and doors and the white edging were caked in black yuck.

First we pulled up the nails, painted the walls, brought in an electrician friend to put in lights and my husband and his friend crawled under the house and fixed the plumbing. That was a lot of work. Then life happened. Our second car was “totaled,” the boys’ sport expenses added up, and money was and is tight. I also just found out that our one and only car needs a new radiator and starter and the labor costs are out the roof.

Two years later and we still have a lot blank walls and our house’s curb appeal is atroshises. I know when parent’s drop their kids off for a play date at our house they must be skeptical. It is a bit embarrassing for me at least. And it doesn’t look like the curb appeal will be approved anytime soon. We still have a laundry list of necessary things to do to make this house seem more like a home.

It is not a sanctuary. There is no place to go here (except my bed) that seems comfortable or feels like an escape from the rest of the world. Our house is on hold. Our sanctuary is on temporary hold. We have a long way to go.

Don’t you feel as if there are periods in your life that are on hold? We wait for our man or woman of our dreams to walk into our life, to get pregnant, to start our career, go back to school and finish our degree, to” due” our time in prison for a crime we did while young and negligent, to make friends while our kids are babies, for time to do our hobbies, to buy a house and stop paying rent, to retire so we can travel and see the world, to have a relationship with God when we get our lives “right.” While we keep our lives on hold, life can happen around us and we can miss out on something great.

I recently saw the movie “Leap Year.” I have seen Amy Adams in “Enchanted,” “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day,” “Night @ the Museum” as Amelia Earhart, and as Julie in “Julie & Julia” (although I don’t think that was her best work), but I didn’t notice her in “Catch Me if You Can.” I just really like her so I looked her up online and found out a bit about her.

She has worked at Hooters and the Gap. It wasn’t until her movie “Enchanted” at age 33 did she earn her fame. She was married at age 34 and had her first child at age 36. It wasn’t instant for her and it just reminds us that living a “cookie cutter” life is not all that and more. Here is what she has to say about living life on hold:

“Thirty was a big deal for me. It was the age where I reevaluated everything - how I approached life and how I thought about myself. When I look at my 20s, or when I look at any period in my life, I think about how much time I've wasted trying to find the right man. It's like, if I could go back and do it again, I would have taken guitar lessons or something. I would have put my energy into something that paid off in the end, instead of trying to improve myself for men. Oh, the time and the energy, trying to impress somebody who was actually a big jerk, you know? But the truth is, once you have a great man in your life, it allows you - or at least for me - to look at yourself and grow as an individual. And gosh, if I had known I was going to find this, my 20s would have been completely different.”

We learn to live life by living in the moment, not by living tomorrow when it comes. If we keep our lives on hold, then our lives can happen without us even noticing. Our house on hold doesn’t mean my life has to be on hold. Yes, it is not my dream place, and no I don’t feel that comfortable here, but I don’t want to miss out on these precious years with my kids or how close we are to the beach, or the ease of getting them to school and jetting to work. I don’t want to miss out on life lessons and life joys. Maybe in six years our house will finally have curb appeal, but in the mean time I can’t hide it away. I’m doing my best to not be embarrassed and open our house up for parties, barbeque, and play dates. I’m still working on that though. In the meantime, here’s to the here and now and living life today to the fullest.

How is your life on hold? What have you learned from it?


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  1. You're house is beautiful! You are way too hard on yourself.
    I stuggle with wanting kids so bad that I dont always enjoy the time I have with just me and my husband. I'm working on it, because i know life will never be the same when we have children.

  2. Blessed are the poor in the housing market, for they know who their true friends are!

  3. @Jessika - I never felt that way about kids although I know quite a few people who tried to have kids for so long. I did, although, feel that way about getting a dog. We had wanted a dog so bad and then when we got him we all felt that, wow, that was too soon and we really were not ready for him. But, now we are thankful and think we never really would have been ready. Thank you for sharing and I think many people can say they have had that feeling about having kids too. You will have your time and you are going to be such a great mommy!